from the Field: UNDEF-backed Somali Journalists Union honoured by France's human rights commission
22 December 2009
The UNDEF-backed National Union of Somali Journalists, NUSOJ, has been honoured by France's Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme for its work to advance freedom of expression in Somalia's highly challenging environment.
A French Government statement described the honourable mention by the jury of the Prix Liberté-Egalité-Fraternité as "a special distinction in recognition of the work the Union has been doing in encouraging freedom of speech, and defending and enhancing media freedom and human rights in Somalia". The prize is endowed by the French Prime Minister and acknowledges field work and projects dealing with the practical defence and promotion of human rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The honour was celebrated on the International Day of Human Rights in an event in Nairobi hosted by the French Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Elisabeth Barbier and attended by Omar Faruk Osman, the NUSOJ Secretary General (both pictured).
“This great honour recognizes our Union’s outstanding achievements, often at great risk," said Omar Faruk Osman. "It will certainly enhance our ability to keep up the struggle for human rights and effectively campaign for respect and protection of freedom of expression. It will also help protect Somali journalists’ capacity to continue their noble work for the people. The award brings a new level of international attention to our struggle and accomplishments as well as the enormous impediments we face.”
"This is a well deserved prize and we congratulate NUSOJ leadership and members," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists. "They have been steadfast in the defence of journalists' rights under sustained, often lethal attacks."
UNDEF funds the NUSOJ project “Strengthening Somali Media Capacity for Democracy and Human Rights”, which trains journalists in the norms, tools, standards, and practices of journalism, as well as in human rights and good governance. The project also works to empower women journalists and is contributing to creating and equipping a media centre.
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